Use This Household Staple To Keep Pests From Taking Over Your Indoor Succulents

Succulents are often praised for being "low maintenance" plants that require minimal care, making them popular choices for both gardening enthusiasts and those new to plant care. Despite their hardy reputation, succulents are not immune to pest infestations, often falling prey to mealybugs, scales, spider mites, and root mealybugs.

The good news is that managing these pests doesn't require specialized or expensive treatments. A common household item — rubbing alcohol — can be highly effective in dealing with these pests infesting your favorite succulents.

Rubbing alcohol acts as a desiccant and dries them out. It also penetrates through their waxy coating, causing them to disintegrate. Sometimes, rubbing alcohol may not be able to penetrate the waterproof coating of succulent pests. When this is the case, you may want to mix a few drops of liquid soap with the alcohol. Most soft-bodied pests are susceptible to soaps. However, the insect must be thoroughly covered. It's also important to not add too much soap, as this can be harmful to your plants, particularly to new buds.

How to use alcohol to kill succulent pests

To say goodbye to mealybugs and other pests, soak a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and dab alcohol on the pests. In case of heavy infestation, put alcohol in a spray bottle and generously mist your plant. You may have to repeat this for several days until you can no longer see stray pests roaming around. Upon dabbing or spraying, you'll notice that the white web-like substance on mealybugs will immediately disintegrate, leaving a small brownish bug.

Don't worry about alcohol damaging your succulent's leaves. Alcohol evaporates pretty quickly. However, do be cautious about sun exposure right after spraying. Alcohol-treated succulents can develop sunburn if placed under direct sunlight immediately after application. For the best results, it's ideal to spray your succulents with alcohol during the cooler parts of the day, like at sunset or nighttime.

Pests like mealybugs often lay their eggs in the soil of potted plants, which can pose a challenge for succulent owners. While some sources suggest that applying or pouring alcohol into the soil won't damage the plant, there are concerns about potential toxicity. The alcohol could be absorbed by the plant's roots, leading to dehydration and even death. To be safe, it might be better to repot the plant in fresh soil to avoid re-infestation.

Aside from killing pests, it's important to know how to care for succulents inside and outside your house, including avoiding overwatering and ensuring they get enough light.